Bree (Felicity Huffman) is a transgendered woman. She has already been through many of the medical procedures needed to change her body from a man to a woman (for example: facial feminization surgery) and is currently living as a woman. Now she is ready for the really big next step, gender reassignment surgery (or as she put it, making her outie an innie). Bree has all of the necessary signatures from various doctors/therapists and she is scheduled for surgery the following Friday.
Just as everything is falling into place, Bree gets some disturbing information. She has a 17 year-old son that she didn’t know about. It turns out that the one and only sexual encounter that Stanley (her name when she was living as a male) ever had, resulted in the woman getting pregnant.
Unfortunately, the son, Toby (Kevin Zegers) is currently in jail in New York City and needs to be bailed out. His mother is dead and he has run away from his stepfather. He is currently working as a prostitute and is doing drugs. Bree tries to just ignore the whole Toby issue, considering it all part of Stanley’s life, not hers. However, her therapist, Margaret (Elizabeth Pena), doesn’t see it that way. She feels Bree must deal with this in order to successfully move forward. Which gives her less than a week to figure out what to do about Toby.
Bree decides to fly from Los Angeles to New York in order to meet Toby. She ends up bailing him out of jail, but doesn’t tell him who she is. When he erroneously thinks she is from a church group that helps teens in trouble she decides to just go with that story. As it turns out, Los Angeles is where Toby wants to live, he has dreams of being in the movies.
She decides to drive back to L.A. (since it is cheaper than flying), plus then Toby could catch a ride with her. Things don’t exactly go smoothly for them as their road trip progresses. It seems like every time they make a bit of progress towards getting to know each other something happens that screws everything up and they go back to barely talking to each other. They have interesting encounters with people along the way, some good and some bad. I particularly liked Calvin Many Goats (Graham Greene – you might recognize him as Leonard on Northern Exposure). He was such a nice guy and really helped them out.
This is a wonderful “road trip” movie that allows us to learn so much about Bree and Toby. Where they came from and how they ended up where they are now. Sometimes it’s quite funny, other times it’s incredibly painful.
Both Felicity and Kevin do a phenomenal job. They seem to really understand their characters and portray them realistically. Their interaction with each other is wonderful. Whether it’s when they are getting along or when they are antagonistic towards each other.
Some of my favorite quotes:
Bree – “Don’t you find it odd that plastic surgery can cure a mental disorder?”
Doctor – “How do you feel about your penis?”
Bree – “It disgusts me. I don’t even like looking at it.”
Doctor – “What about friends?”
Bree – “They don’t like it either.”
Bree – “You don’t have to say “like”. “Probably disemboweled by a ninja” is sufficient.”
Toby – “I said I’d take a ride from you. I never said I’d carry on a f*cking conversation.”
Bree – “You might want to use a fork. Just an idea.”
Bree – “You know, social ostracism doesn’t work in a community of two.”
Bree – “Is there a Mrs. Many Goats?”
Calvin – “Oh, no. No, not yet. I guess the right woman hasn’t met me.”
Toby – “I thought you said your parents were dead.”
Bree – “Mmm. Wishful thinking.”
Sydney – “We all look much happier than we really are.”
Following is additional information about the movie that contains spoilers. If you don’t want to be spoiled don’t read any further.
The scene when Toby tries to initiate sex with Bree is an extremely painful and uncomfortable scene to watch. You feel so bad for Toby, especially when Bree finally tells him that she is his father. He feels so betrayed by her.
I like seeing the change in Bree after her surgery. We see her working in the same restaurant but as a waitress now (instead of a dishwasher). She is so much happier, much more confident and now actually interacts with her co-workers (instead of keeping to herself).
I was so happy when Toby showed up at her door. Things aren’t great and you can tell it will take a long time before he will trust her again. However, you see the beginnings of them trying to establish a new relationship with each other and setting new boundaries. It’s a step in the right direction.